List of Top Best Tips for the Making of Making a Point
September 1, 2012 7:58 PM   Subscribe

What's your favorite list of Powerpoint/Keynote/presentation do's and don'ts?

Over the years I have seen plenty online lists about how to (and not to) give presentations, Powerpoint and othewise. Now I am looking to review some of them before making an important presentation in Houston this month.

I am looking for favorite Powerpoint, Keynote, and just general tips for giving presentation in the form of lists.

PS Just to let you know where I am coming from, I am a big fan of 15 Minutes Including Q & A by Joey Asher, and The Exceptional Presenter by Timothy Koegel.
posted by humannaire to Work & Money (14 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
Always a good place to start.
posted by 4ster at 8:22 PM on September 1, 2012

Apologies. Fixing link.
posted by 4ster at 8:25 PM on September 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

My rule is to always show the thing I am talking about and not describe it. If I have nothing to show, I include a blank slide. I prefer slide themes/templates with simple date/time/event/title information in small letters at the bottom. I put notes in a text document so nobody misses using the slides as notes.
posted by michaelh at 12:17 AM on September 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

I don't have a list for you, but based on the two books you mentioned, you might like "How to be a presentation God" by Scott Schwertly, and "The presentation coach" by Graham Davies.

The first book might overlap a bit with the two you posted about, but it's well worth a look if you've got everything you can out of them.

The Davies' book is excellent. He's cutting about a lot of the crappy stuff that's out there, and I'd rate his preparation method higher than Koegal's.

Good luck in Houston!
posted by Prof Iterole at 12:53 AM on September 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

1. Don't put so much of your slides
2. Don't just read your slides
3. Go slower
posted by outlier at 1:45 AM on September 2, 2012

My 2 cents:

1. Don't start a presentation with an apology
2. Don't cite any works you haven't read
3. Especially don't cite Mehrabian's nonverbal communication stuff unless you really know it well
4. Don't do a triple play (triple play = the slides, your script, and the audience handout are all the same)

5. Craft your micro-message(s). Start and end with a spike (see Davies' "Presentation Coach")
6. Put the audience's needs before your own
7. People, not platforms. Does the audience really care whether you use Powerpoint, 8. Keynote, Prezi or whatever?
8. Consider the difference between eye contact and eye movement
9. Presentations can easily be too long; nobody ever says a presentation was too short
posted by Prof Iterole at 3:00 AM on September 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Steal this presentation.
posted by MuffinMan at 4:02 AM on September 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

Slides are for reinforcing the words you are speaking. This focuses attention on you and your message, not on the screen as the audience reads along with you, or scans a list of bullet points.

Similarly, avoid providing print-outs of your slide presentation for everyone to "follow-along" with. Their heads and eyes will be focused on the paper, and not on you. And they will always be skipping ahead.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:49 AM on September 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

I was just at a conference where presenters had 10 minutes to present their issue. Many of the presenters used Prezi. I remember their presentations far better than the other powerpoint presentations.
posted by what's her name at 7:28 AM on September 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

This is one of my favorite AskMe's of all time:

Bad as in terrible, not bad as in really good

Pretend that it is Opposite Day when you read it.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 7:28 AM on September 2, 2012

This guy has lots of good tips Presentation Zen.

Most people use Powerpoint like a drunk uses a lamppost, to prop themselves up rather than for illumination. Know your material thoroughly like an actor knows his lines, then you can tell a story or make a pitch rather than nervously reading the slides out to your audience.

It can be hard work, look at the masters like Steve Jobs, do you imagine that was improvised? I'll bet he put in a minimum of 10 hours rehearsal for every hour on stage.
posted by epo at 7:33 AM on September 2, 2012

Best answer: Well rehearsal and preparation.
posted by epo at 7:34 AM on September 2, 2012

Seminar on seminars for those in the sciences is a good start
posted by lalochezia at 7:38 AM on September 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Here's what I did. I used Google Presentation and exported as PDF. (Obviously no video or sound but it worked well for what I was doing. (Sorry that reference is sorta self-promoting.)

Now in review, I have to say I am glad I was familiar with Guy Kawasaki's 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint. (Thanks, 4ster.) Walking into the symposium with that in mind changed the experience. I went through 3 days of presentations with slides in typeface that had to be 8pt. My 30pt typeface in contrast was like lightning bolt in the room. Also, while I paraphrased my slides, I never read them. (That was a good one, too, outlier.)

MuffinMan, steal this presentation popped up several times in my research of the matter. I stole from it readily.

SuperSquirrel, I had to leave that alone (until afterwards); too intimidating—I started feeling uncomfortable reading it! In hindsight, aaaah!

And epo, you were the one who sealed the deal. It was practice in room at that made the talk work. I just went over it and over it AND OVER IT until I had the talk and my points to stress down to a "t".

And lalochezia, Seminars on seminars is brilliant. Great stuff to inspire for next time.

Thanks to all. Whew! Mefi hivemind, you pulled through again!
posted by humannaire at 5:00 PM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

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